Foxconn’s founder and chairman Terry Gou has confirmed rumors that the iPhone manufacturing giant will begin mass-production of iPhone models in India later this year.
The announcement follows shortly after reports suggested Apple had assigned Foxconn to begin iPhone X production in India by July after initially assigning production partner Wistron to produce iPhone SE and iPhone 6 models in the country in 2017.
Gou didn’t confirm which iPhone models will be produced in India, however the South China Morning Post suggests Apple could use the Indian manufacturing plant to supply the US and other major markets in the future.
“It’s as yet unclear what Apple’s motivation might be for Indian assembly of high-end iPhones. The company has only a tiny and shrinking share of India’s smartphone market as yet, with a focus on lower-cost models. Wistron, for example, started with the iPhone SE – a model now limited to emerging markets – and subsequently added in the iPhone 6S and, most recently, the iPhone 7.”
“However, one possibility is that Apple wants to diversify production of models destined for the US market. At one point, the US trade war with China looked like it might send tariffs on US imports from the country as high as 25%, which was reported to be the point at which Apple would seek to move iPhone production out of China. Although things have since calmed down somewhat, the unpredictability of the Trump administration may still leave Apple seeking contingency plans.”
Foxconn is said to have invested $356 million to expand its operations in India to accommodate increased iPhone production amid fears of a 25% tariff on US imports from China.
Gou announced he plans to take a step back from day-to-day management of the company, and focus more on Foxconn’s long-term strategy.
Apple is said to be planning a major overhaul to its strategy in India, with reports suggesting the company is planning official Apple retail locations in New Delhi, Bengaluru & Mumbai, alongside a reform of existing third-party retailer relationships. To adhere with local law, Apple must hit a requirement of 30% locally-made products in order to get government clearance to open an official retail store, another reason for the company to look outside of China for iPhone production.